Video Content Marketing: Tips for Greater Success
Sep 28, 2016
Video content marketing for recruiting traditional and non-traditional students to your undergraduate, degree completion, graduate programs….
Who is your audience? What do you what to communicate to them? What channels will you be using – and are we talking live or recorded or both? What matches with your brand – quality standards, budget, equipment etc. Can you produce the content or do you need outside expertise?
Step 1: Establish Clear, Measurable Goals
Like any promotional effort, you are investing in this tactic in order to generate results – so what are they and how will you measure them?
Generate # leads for the by ?
Increase unaided awareness from % to %% by ?
And how will you measure the impact? If you are going to generate leads, have a clear call to action that drives them to a unique landing page or offers a unique phone number you can track.
If you’re looking to increase unaided awareness amongst your target audience, make sure you measured unaided awareness before the video hits market so you have a baseline…then measure it again after the video has been in market for a reasonable length of time, generating viewers.
Step 2: Develop your Concept
Let’s use that first goal – Generate # leads for the by – as our example. In this step, you want to develop how you are going to motivate your audience to reach out to you and become a lead for a specific program after viewing the video.
Who is your audience? What is important to them? What are creative, entertaining, effective ways to use video to achieve that goal?
And remember to keep in mind the platform(s) you will use to distribute so your audience can watch it. For example, with it’s 6 second time limit, Vine means short. Facebook Live long format – at least 10 minutes. And the more traditional “upload it to Youtube, place it on our site and promote it across multiple channels” means no more than 3-4 minutes.
In a study done by World Education News & Reviews, 42% of students cited a university network (faculty, admissions officers, current students and alumni) as being the most influential in regards to their decision of where to apply. Similar to key influencer strategies in social media, you should identify particular faculty, students and alumni that will act as the “university cheerleader” on social channels and on campus.
The goal for this step is to answer these questions and determine if this is something you can do yourself or if you are going to need some external expertise.
Step 3: Get the Expertise You Need
We’re not all trained camera, lighting, sound engineers – and it’s great to learn new things but sometimes it’s better to get the people with the expertise to do it and educate you at the same time. This isn’t to say that every video needs to have major Hollywood studio quality but what you want to avoid is wasting a lot of time and resources to produce video that really shouldn’t be used.
According to a study done by UCLA, incoming freshman cited “to be able to get a better job” as the top reason to attend college. Millennials grew up during the peak of the recession, so the ability to land a good job after college has become increasingly important. What about a series on networking, writing cover letters and resumes, interviewing? Include internal and external subject matter experts as well as current and former students as they go through the experience?
Step 4: Distribution
Unlike “Field of Dreams”, they aren’t going to come because you “built it” – so have a distribution strategy in place. Mention/share the video on social media, your own site, emails…
Ideally, find ways to use bits and pieces of the entire video so it can get even more exposure. For example, create a short teaser that will motivate viewers to “click here to watch the entire video”.
And remember that you are closer to the video than your audience – most will not have noticed your attempts to promote it so focus on views rather than “…gee, we promoted that video in the last 2 emails…” because chances are pretty high that most of the email readers didn’t notice your promotion.
Step 5: Measurement and Evaluation
This tends to be the most difficult for colleges because most colleges don’t set up a process (see examples in Step 1) for measurement. And remember to ask some in your target audience to watch and comment on the video – at the very least it gives you some valuable feedback you can learn from in order to improve on your next video.
Video is going to play a more important role in your recruitment and retention efforts – if it isn’t already doing so. That typically means you will need to line up some additional resources and move around some budget in order to cover the expenses but with some planning, the video content should help improve performance and enjoy a long life. Minor edits can extend the life and help make the piece even more effective as you learn more based on results.
So what are your plans? Interviews with faculty? Staff? Alumni? Community leaders that hire your graduates? Current students? Will you produce all your own content or will you use video produced by others – students, for example? How will you get user generated video content that meets your needs and standards?
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.